British pianist, MacArthur Fellow, Stephen Hough has joined with Touch Press, the developers of best-selling iPad apps "The Wasteland", "The Elements", and the "The Orchestra", to create The Liszt Sonata, available from iTunes for download today. This groundbreaking collaboration sees Hough and Touch Press team create an encyclopedic compendium to a monumental piano work generally considered a corner stone of the piano repertoire and a summit of 19th century romanticism.

Released in time for Hough’s appearance at the Opening Night of the 2013 BBC Proms, the app is a must-have reference produced with state-of-the-art high-definition video and interactive digital elements.

Stephen Hough said:

“When Touch Press asked me to be part of their series I immediately thought that the Liszt Sonata would be the perfect vehicle. It combines head and heart: brilliantly, rigorously, originally constructed, it is a flawless piece of musical architecture; but then it also moves the listener emotionally from the first heartbeats in the first bar, through the monumental emotional struggle in the middle, to the final, restful descent into the grave.”

At the center of The Liszt Sonata is Hough’s performance of the complete sonata, recorded on high definition cameras in various different angles. Users have the option to follow the performance with a digital score as well as listen to the pianist's commentary as he guides the listeners through the performance providing musicological analysis as well as personal interpretative insight - a rare and precious experience that cannot be replicated in a concert hall or on recordings. A series of supplementary interviews with Stephen Hough provide a multi-dimensional exploration of this transcendent masterwork. The app also includes a brief illustrated history of the work and its composer by Charlotte Gardener.

Stephen Hough said:

“What's so remarkable about Touch Press's music apps is that they combine hearing the music with seeing the performer with exploring the piece. And they are not just a passive experience like a film: they allow you, require you to dig inside, to explore, and almost to be part of the process itself. It's an electronic coffee table book, but one in which you are in control of the percolator. This app enables the listener (viewer, collaborator) to get inside the inner workings of the piece, both to see what the composer was creating as well as know what the performer is thinking. It's like a personal guided tour of a great castle, keys to every room, access to every secret.”

Over the course of his career Stephen Hough has distinguished himself as a true polymath, not only securing a reputation as a uniquely insightful concert pianist but also as a writer and composer. Winner of a Royal Philharmonic Society Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, eight Gramophone Awards and several Grammy nominations, Hough has performed with most leading orchestras in the world at the most prestigious concert halls. In 2013, Hough has given recitals at New York's Carnegie Hall, London's Barbican Centre, and will open the 2013 BBC Proms playing Rachmaninov and Lutoslawski in a 'live' BBC telecast. During Liszt's Bicentenary year in 2012, Hough's recording of the Liszt Sonata was named BBC Radio 3 'Building a Library' top recommendation.

Touch Press is one of the most innovative app development companies today. Creating beautiful "living books" for the iPad, Forbes has raved that "Touch Press transform[s] the act of reading." Their titles include "The Elements," a guide to the periodic table called "the biggest success story of the book-apps world" by The Guardian; "The Orchestra," an app that explores the modern symphony featuring renowned composer/conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen; "The Sonnets," an interactive guide to Shakespeare with readings by Stephen Fry, Patrick Stewart, Fiona Shaw, and more; and "The Waste Land," about T.S. Eliot's famous poem with commentary by Nobel Prize-winning author Seamus Heaney.

A short video preview can be viewed below:

Liszt Sonata for iPad from Touch Press on Vimeo.


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